Our Language Arts and Social studies teachers have standards to teach -- and the social studies teachers assigns the "Research a State" report. Sounds like a typical report, and it is, except for the tools used to learn and create the product.
Students have choices: which state and which topics about that state to research in order to meet reading and writing standards. For eighth grade, the standards are:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
I can cite textual evidence that strongly supports conclusions reasoned through from the facts in the text and on inferences from the facts in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
I can decide the central idea of a text and think through the way the idea was built from the beginning to the end of the text. I can find the supporting ideas in the text. I can write an objective summary (facts, no opinion) of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
I can gather relevant -- important to my topic -- information from many sources. I can use search terms effectively. I can asses the the truthfulness of each source (credible, accurate). I can quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others without plagiarizing. I can follow a a format for citing my sources.
The Web 2.0 of Diigo’s highlight, annotate, and bookmarking abilities lets students personalize the information and punctuate their own online work with that information. For example: Here a student simply highlights the information she needs to review later to summarize in her report document. Diigo allows students to highlight the webpage's important ideas, then a add sticky notes to write the main idea or a summary in their own words.
In addition, students can read difficult text, one of the requirements of the new standards. Because our listening vocabularies are larger than our speaking or reading vocabularies, our Mac computers are set to read the text to them with a simple key stroke (Opt + Esc). Students are able to listen to, read, and discern the most relevant facts. Then students consider what those facts mean and cite the evidence: the details that support the main idea. They type these in the sticky notes with their highlights.
These are saved in their Diigo library:
Now students can easily, copy their summaries to their reports in Google Docs and revise and edit. Their teaches can add advice and suggestions as a comment for students to work on.
We learn search strategies, and website verification strategies. We learn research, reading, and writing, all in the cloud.
As your child to share their process and first draft with you. You will learn from your student!
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